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2000 Jordan Institute
for Families

Vol. 1, No. 4
Summer 1996

New Construction in Catawba County, North Carolina

When she started her job, Leslie Burnside, Catawba County's Families for Kids performance coordinator, went to the staff and asked them to approach her if there were any major barriers to finding permanent homes for children, especially if they thought the community could help alleviate these barriers. She was immediately approached by a licensure worker who presented her with this scenario:

There was a couple who wanted to become foster parents so they could foster and eventually adopt some of their grandchildren, a sibling group of three. The problem was, they had nowhere to put them.

Although both grandparents work, their money was too tight for them to build on the additional room they needed--and that licensure required.

Initially, Burnside was a little taken aback. "I said, 'Wow! I wasn't thinking of something as big as a room on a house, but we can do it!'"

She then contacted business leaders and professionals in the community, informed them about DSS's need, and invited them to become active community partners so the children could be adopted.

The response was instantaneous. First someone donated building supplies. Then an architect said he would draw up the plans, and the Homebuilders Association of Catawba Valley agreed to provide free labor.

In all, ten businesses, from the size of Lowes on down to a one-man operation, volunteered resources.

"It was not a hard sell," Burnside says. "Although the community is often not informed about what DSS does or what the needs are, when you approach them with a tangible need like this, there's a real willingness to help."

1996 Jordan Institute for Families